Jack Leach claims two wickets on return as Somerset on top

-Credit:Getty Images
-Credit:Getty Images

England left-arm spinner Jack Leach claimed two wickets on his Somerset return after a long injury lay-off as they dominated a rain-affected second day of the Vitality County Championship Division One match with Kent at Taunton.

The home side added 114 to their overnight first innings score of 440 for seven to post their highest-ever first class score against Kent, skipper Lewis Gregory making 77 off 95 balls with nine fours.

Craig Overton then pinned England's Zak Crawley lbw for a first-ball duck as the visitors reached eight for one before the weather closed in just 11 balls into the innings.

Play resumed at 4.45pm and Kent reached stumps on 108 for five, Ben Compton top-scoring with 43 before Leach removed him and Harry Finch late in the day for figures of two for 22 from seven overs.

With George Garrett (groin) under treatment, Kent were a seamer light when Somerset resumed their first innings. Gregory soon brought up a fifth batting bonus point with an on-driven four off Beyers Swanepoel. The total had progressed quickly to 460 for seven when Migael Pretorius, on 19, edged a delivery from Grant Stewart to slip where Marcus O'Riordan took an excellent two-handed catch diving to his left.

Six runs were added, with Josh Davey having joined Gregory before the first rain break of the day came with only 3.5 overs having been bowled. Play resumed at 11.50pm and Gregory moved to his third half-century of the season off 69 balls, with six fours.
Davey (27) chipping a high catch to mid-wicket off Joey Evison. Out marched last man Leach, returning after knee surgery for his first appearance of the summer and welcomed by a rousing ovation from Somerset fans.

He played some sweet shots in contributing 21 to a 10th-wicket stand of 37 before Gregory's impressive knock was ended by a brilliant diving boundary catch by Crawley off Evison, who finished with three for 92.

Compton took a couple of boundaries off the opening over of Kent's reply - sent down by Davey - before Overton pinned Crawley lbw with a full delivery, which beat the inside edge. Daniel Bell-Drummond survived a confident lbw appeal in the same over, but before it ended the rain began falling again.

Tea was taken before play restarted with the floodlights on and a possible 31.1 overs left in the day. Compton played positively again, but Bell-Drummond had made only four when driving at Overton and failing to get to the pitch of the ball, wicketkeeper James Rew taking a good two-handed catch diving in front of first slip.

At 28 for two, Kent faced an uphill battle. O'Riordan joined Compton in looking to counter attack and hit three fours in moving to 20 before another loose drive saw his stumps scattered by Pretorius.

Leach was introduced into the attack at 76 for three, but after a tidy maiden saw his second over go for 14 as Compton hit him through the off-side for four and three before Joe Denly lofted a straight six. The skies had cleared to produce the best batting conditions of the day.

Compton looked in prime form. But, having faced 70 balls and cracked seven fours, he went to reverse sweep Leach and stood transfixed when judged to have feathered a catch through to Rew.

Finch looked equally perplexed to be given out lbw to Leach on five, having been struck in front possibly off a feint inside edge and Kent had lost half their wickets in 29 overs.